Al-Jazeera plans British, French news channels

DOHA (AFP) - Qatar's Al-Jazeera television network said on Monday it was preparing to launch a news channel in Britain while studies are at an advanced stage for a French-language channel.

"We are currently working to launch a news channel from the United Kingdom," said the network's Director General Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al-Thani in Doha, adding it will be called Al-Jazeera UK.

The British channel will broadcast for five hours during prime time as a cut-in UK content aired on Al-Jazeera English channel, which was opened in 2006, an Al-Jazeera official told AFP.

Al-Thani also said that studies were at an "advanced stage" to launch a French-language channel aimed at "building bridges with other cultures and peoples."

The network which opened Al-Jazeera Balkan in Sarajevo in 2011 is readying to open Al-Jazeera Turkish, Al-Thani said.

Al-Jazeera has revolutionised the Arabic-language media and reporting on the Middle East since its foundation in 1996. Its coverage has many times caused disruption to the channel's operations in a number of Arab countries.

During the so-called Arab Spring uprising, the channel has faced repeated accusations of being biased.